Top of the Morning: Gaddafi Loyalists Fight in Niger; Palestine’s Plan B; Turkey Quake

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Gaddafi Loyalists Militias Flee Libya. Get into Fights in Neighboring Countries.  

The late Muammar Gaddafi relied on tribal militias and even foreign mercenaries in his last ditch effort to cling to power. Well, Gaddafi is gone, but the mercenaries and loyalist fighters have not exactly melted away. “Niger’s army has clashed with a heavily armed convoy of vehicles that entered its territory from Libya, killing 13 in the convoy and suffering one casualty on its side, military sources in the West African country said on Wednesday. The sources said Nigerien authorities took 13 prisoners after the incident, which took place on Sunday around the remote northern Nigerien mining town of Arlit, just south of the border with Algeria. “I understand it was a convoy of pro-Gaddafi Libyans guided by Malian Tuaregs,” said one army officer who declined to be named, adding that some members of the convoy had fled…Hundreds of thousands have fled Libya south into Niger and neighbouring Mali in past months. The vast majority are migrant African workers who had settled in Libya, but authorities have also signalled the return of some armed pro-Gaddafi fighters.” (Reuters

With Security Council Vote in Question, Palestine Begins Working on Plan B for UN Membership.

Last week, France said it would abstain from a Security Council vote to grant UN membership to Palestine. On Wednesday, the UK said it would so the same. This means that it is increasingly unlikely that Palestine can muster the required 9 affirmative votes in the 15 member body, which the USA says would trigger a veto. So, it looks like the Palestinians are looking at alternatives to full UN membership. “The Palestinians have said that if they failed to win full U.N. membership, they would seek ‘nonmember state’ observer status in the world body. They hope that this enhanced status would qualify them for membership on key international bodies where they could push for action against Israel. Last month the Palestinians won membership in the U.N.’s cultural agency, UNESCO. A Palestinian official said Wednesday that the Palestinians have begun lobbying key European countries, particularly France, for support. In Paris, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero confirmed his government is open to the Palestinian request, saying nonmember status ‘still seems the best path to us.’” (Yahoo

A Second Killer Quake Strikes Eastern Turkey

The hits keep on coming. “At least eight people died when an earthquake of magnitude 5.6 rocked an eastern Turkish province that was struck by a quake Oct. 23. Emergency crews pulled seven bodies from the rubble of 25 buildings in Van, about 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) east of Istanbul, and rescued at least 23 people, the government’s emergency relief authority said in a statement carried by the state news agency Anatolia. Two hotels among the structures that collapsed had housed mostly journalists and rescue workers who were in the province because of October’s quake. A Japanese aid worker freed from one of the hotels died in a hospital, Anatolia said. Yesterday’s temblor was a separate event and more destructive than the 2,500 aftershocks that have shaken the region since the earthquake of magnitude 7.2 that killed 604 people last month, according to the national seismology institute.” (Bloomberg